Do solar panels work in cloudy weather? | Solaris Tech
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Category : Solar Panels
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Published Date : 31-08-2022

Do solar panels work in cloudy weather?

Many homeowners upgrading to solar energy wonder whether solar panels will work efficiently in cloudy or snowy weather. The good news is that solar panels can work brilliantly in cloudy or snowy weather. Solar panels capture the energy from the sun to generate electricity, but that does not mean they will only work during long summer afternoons.

As of January 2022, more than 3 million rooftop solar panels have been installed across Australia. On a cloudy day, solar panels can generate 10-25% of their output as compared to a clear day. So, we know that a solar photovoltaic (PV) system will still generate electricity for your home even when the sky is full of clouds, but how?

The common Google searched question is finally answered. This month, Solaris Tech will discuss how solar panels work in cloudy weather. We will discuss the ‘edge of the cloud effect’ alongside the impact of poor weather conditions on solar panels. To know more about solar panel maintenance, keep scrolling and read along.

how do solar panels work

How do solar panels work?

Solar technologies convert sunlight into direct current (DC) through photovoltaic (PV) panels. The direct current (DC) gets converted into alternating current (AC). Most households run on Alternating Current (AC). AC is used to feed your home electricity to watch television, cook dinner or simply turn on the lights. Solar panels work best when maximum light hits the cells. The cells then produce electricity that powers your laundry machines, computers and television for your home. But the biggest question is - What happens to the solar panels on an overcast day?

do solar panels work in cloudy weather

Do solar panels work in cloudy weather?

Yes, 100%!

With one caveat.

Solar panels work in cloudy weather - but not as effectively as on a normal sunny day. Solar panels on cloudy days generate 10-25% of the electricity of their standard power output, depending upon how thick the cloud cover is.

Now here is the juicy part. You could be wrong if you think hot climates help solar panels generate more electricity. Solar panels work efficiently in sunny-cold temperatures. Hot climates are not suitable for solar panels and even decrease the life of the solar cells as well. The solar output begins to fall if the temperature rises above 25°C. If you are searching for the best solar panels in Sydney, read our blog for tips on finding the best solar panel for your home.

Do solar panels work at night?

The answer is no - solar panels need light to work efficiently - preferably sunlight to create energy. Although they can generate electricity from other light sources like street lights, even the moonlight, the output is meager. Because of the inability to generate electricity at night, solar panels go into sleep mode. They become inactive and stop producing electricity.

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What is the edge-of-cloud effect?

Cloudy weather cuts solar generation in half, but solar panels can sometimes reflect higher electricity outputs on partially cloudy days than on a bright sunny day. This phenomenon is known as the ‘edge-of-cloud’ effect, where the sunlight is magnified, resulting in a higher electrical output.

Impact of bad weather on solar panels

A bit of rain can help clean the solar panels by clearing out all the debris and dirt collected on the solar panels. Being on the roof all year round, solar panels can face some adverse weather conditions, which might hamper the electricity production capacity of the solar panels. For this reason, solar panels are made to be very strong to withstand anything coming their way.

If you want professional advice on solar panel maintenance and installation, click here and hire the best solar installers in Sydney.

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Do not let the overcast weather cloud your judgment!

To summarize, solar panels work effectively even in cloudy conditions and perform better in sunny-cold temperatures. How efficient your solar panels are under extreme weather conditions is entirely dependent on your solar panel brand. Check out some good reviews before purchasing solar panels for your home. 

Solar energy will account for 60% of global renewable power growth in the coming years. Do not let the weather forecast cloud your judgment. Go solar and choose renewable over non-renewable.

We hope this blog has answered your questions about the effects of weather on solar panels! If you have any questions regarding solar panel installation and maintenance, contact Solaris Tech. Get in touch with our consultants to hire the best solar installers in Sydney.

FAQs About Solar Panels Performance on Cloudy Days

  1. Can solar panels work when it is raining?
    When rain falls, the solar panels continue to generate electricity. Compared to sunny days, rainy days have 90% less sunlight. With less sunlight, the solar panels produce a proportional drop in electricity.
  2. How efficient are solar panels on rainy days?
    Solar panels generate 30% – 50% of their optimum electricity during cloudy weather and 10% – 20% of optimum generation in heavy rain.
  3. Do solar panels need to be cleaned?
    Solar panels do not need to be cleaned too frequently, but an annual inspection needs to be done to check the operational efficiency of the solar panels. If you reside in hot and dry areas, you must clear out the debris and dirt collected on the panels. During the snowy season, remove the snow from the panels to increase the solar panel operational efficiency.
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